Councillor Lawson Henry will depart St Helena on Tuesday, 31 January 2017, to attend a special meeting of the Joint Ministerial Conference (Overseas Territories – EU Negotiations (JMC (OT-EN)) to be held in London on Tuesday, 7 February 2017. This follows on from the JMC held in November last year, when it was agreed that the JMC (OT-EN) will be the primary forum for dialogue on the UK’s exit from the EU.
The meeting will be attended by Overseas Territories Government Leaders and chaired by Mr Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, and The Rt Hon Baroness Anelay, Minister for the Overseas Territories in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
The objective of the meeting will be to facilitate political engagement and collaboration between the UK Government and the governments of the Overseas Territories (OT), to ensure that Overseas Territories’ requirements are taken into account in the UK’s preparations for the process of exiting the European Union (EU).
The UK will give an overview of action to date, including a summary of engagement with constituent parts of the UK Realm and preparations ahead of Article 50. Overseas Territories’ Leaders will then have the opportunity to outline the OT priorities for EU negotiations, including overarching issues, institutional status and future relationship.
There will then be four thematic discussions:
- EU Market Access
- EU Funding
- Free Movement
The meeting will conclude with a discussion on future engagement and an update on the UK Government’s plans for the Great Repeal Bill and impact on the territories.
Councillor Henry said:
“This meeting to be held on 7 February is a follow-up to discussions held at JMC in November last year. It is important for St Helena to be represented and to raise issues that will impact on us here on the Island when Britain will no longer be part of the EU.
“By taking part in the meeting, we are able to make HMG aware of our concerns and seek ways to overcome these that will have the least impact on St Helena. One of the main issues for us on-Island is the potential loss of EU funding. St Helena has received significant funding from the EU over many years through Britain’s membership of the EU.”
While Councillor Henry is off-Island he will also attend the 15th EU-OCT forum, to be held in Aruba from Tuesday, 21 February to Friday, 24 February.
The week will include the OCTA Ministerial Council where discussions will take place on the OCT-EU Partnership post 2020, ongoing Programmes including BEST 2:0, TSI and Thematic, the EDF 11th Thematic – Sustainable Energy and Climate Change and the OCTA Secretariat.
The Political Resolutions will also be approved for presentation to the Forum. There will be a tripartite meeting with representatives from the European Commission and the UK to discuss the progress of the 10th EDF programming, and the preparation of the programming documents for the 11th EDF.
The Forum will include statements from the European Commission, representatives from the four Member States, and the OCTA Chair. This will be followed by two Roundtables on Sustainable Energy and Climate Change.
Councillor Henry will return to St Helena on Friday, 10 March 2017.
25 January 2017